Corpse robbing occurs when funeral home staff that is handling a deceased body takes personal items or steals the body. For instance, a person may rob the body of clothing, a family heirloom, jewelry, gold fillings, internal organs, or other items. While these offenses may seem shocking, they do occur, and they can be devastating.
If you believe that the body of your loved one has been robbed of personal items, then you can take legal action against the funeral home. A funeral negligence lawyer can help. By filing a lawsuit, you may receive compensation for your damages. Although you may never get back what was stolen from your loved one’s body, you can get justice for your loved one and find closure to you and your family during this difficult time.
Establishing Liability for Corpse Robbing in a Funeral Negligence Case
To prove the funeral home is liable for robbing your loved one after death, you will have to establish the following four elements: duty, breach, causation, harm.
The funeral home owed your loved one a professional duty of caring for them without removing any items from the body.
- Breach of Duty
You must establish that the funeral home breached its duty of care. In other words, the funeral home employee knew not to remove the items from the body, but they intentionally removed them anyway. Thus, they failed to meet the expectations of their duty.
You must establish that the funeral home’s actions are what led to your loved one’s damages. In this case, you must draw a link between the funeral home’s actions and the missing items, as well as disrespect to the body.
The funeral home’s actions led to actual harm or damages to the deceased or the family, including financial, emotional, or physical harm.
Eligible Parties That Can Sue for Damages
You or another family member may bring a cause of action for damages against the funeral home. The list of possible parties may include:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
In some special cases, other parties such as heirs to an estate or those who are close to the deceased may also be able to sue for damages.
Steps to Take in a Corpse Robbing Funeral Negligence Case
If you plan to file a lawsuit against a funeral home for corpse robbing, then you may want to take the following steps:
Inform and Prepare Your Family
Gather the names of all family members who may be interested in pursuing this case. Meet with them to discuss your concerns and that you plan to file a lawsuit against the funeral home.
Gather All Documents and Other Proof
Gather as much preliminary proof as possible. Find receipts, photos of all stolen items, or any other documents that are relevant to your case. Try to note any conversations that you had with the funeral home. If the body is missing, make note of the last time the body was accounted for.
Consult a Funeral Negligence Lawyer
Before you speak with the funeral home, an insurance company, or anyone outside of your family, you may want to consult a funeral negligence attorney. You can ask questions, discuss your case, and find out what legal options are available. A lawyer can give you the guidance you need to build your case against the funeral home.
How a Funeral Negligence Lawyer Can Help You
Finding out that a funeral home robbed or took the body of your loved one can be devastating news to your family. Your family may also have no idea what their legal options are when facing such a tragedy. A funeral negligence attorney can help you with your case in the following ways:
Manage Your Case from Start to Finish
A funeral negligence attorney can handle all the aspects of your lawsuit, such as paperwork, deadlines, correspondence, and building your case. The lawyer will work closely with you so that you always know what is going on and what to expect.
Obtain Documents and Other Evidence
A lawyer can gather all documents, statements, photos, videos, or other items that they can use as evidence to establish that the funeral home removed certain items from the deceased person’s body intentionally.
Correspond with All Parties on Your Behalf
An attorney can contact the funeral home, speak with expert witnesses, and negotiate with the insurance companies and any other entities on your behalf. A lawyer can record all correspondence and review all communications with you. You can also have your attorney present if you have to speak with another party directly.
Represent You Through Litigation
Your family may want legal representation to help you through the litigation process. An attorney can handle the process on your behalf and represent you once you file your lawsuit.
Fight for a Fair Settlement
Regardless of the actions of the funeral home, they may deny any wrongdoing. An insurance company may also deny your claim or try to offer a low settlement. A lawyer can use their legal knowledge and experience to take on these companies and get you a fair settlement.
Contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
If your family has been taken advantage of by a dishonest funeral home, then contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato. We offer legal services for funeral negligence cases in South Florida. To find out more about how we can help you with your case, call us at 954-633-8270 for a free case review.